Exotic veggies: Fiddlehead surf & turf


Learning how to cook exotic fruits and vegetables is a mini hobby of mine.  I tasted fiddleheads for the first time while minibreaking in Santa Fe, New Mexico at this lovely resort in the middle of the high desert.  Fiddleheads are the unfurled fronds of a fern plant.  They resemble the top of a fiddle where the strings attach, hence their name.  They don’t appear to be something you’d eat, but the Native Americans and other cultures in Asia have been eating them for centuries.  High in Omega 3 and 6, they taste kind of like a tart asparagus.  They used to hail from Maine, but are now grown locally in California.  The fiddlehead season is extraordinarily brief, so I was lucky to spot them at my local Whole Foods last week, at $5.99 for a small package.  A splurge for sure.

Anxious to feature fiddleheads for dinner but unable to agree on meat or fish to pair them with, Big N and I decided to splurge with a little surf & turf: cajun style catfish and grilled sirloin.   Fiddlehead surf & turf I kept the fiddleheads simple by blanching for a few minutes in boiling water and then shocking, then sauteing in olive oil, salt & pepper, just like I do with asparagus.  They don’t need much more labor than that. The fiddleheads have a nice al dente crunch to them and a zesty fresh flavor that went well with the spicy catfish.  The sirloin was just a bonus.  Fiddleheads are a treat that says Spring is in full bloom.

We paired our surf & turf with an Amici Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley.  The wine had notes of cedar and mint with velvety smooth dark chocolate on the palate.  The ripe fruits and hint of bell pepper paired with the toothy sirloin and acidic fiddleheads.